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MakeArt 2019: ‘We give children’s art equal standing to that of adults’

PUBLISHED: 12:12 09 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:12 09 December 2019

Islington Mayor Rakhia Ismail with MakeMoreArt students Finn and Camm. Picture: Pablo Ruiz.

Islington Mayor Rakhia Ismail with MakeMoreArt students Finn and Camm. Picture: Pablo Ruiz.

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The MakeArt programme is about elevating creative young minds. Based at the Islington Arts Factory, their annual exhibition is now open; displaying paintings, drawings, sculptures and clay works from children aged four to 16.

Teapots by Islington Arts Factory's Clay Level 2 class. Picture: Pablo Ruiz.Teapots by Islington Arts Factory's Clay Level 2 class. Picture: Pablo Ruiz.

"Islington Arts Factory gives children's art an equal standing to that of adults," says Eleanor Pearce, the Director of Art. "This exhibition is a demonstration of the expansive imagination shown by the artists and the sheer joy in their depictions on a range of exciting themes.

"It's a riot of colour and there's something new to discover wherever you look."

This year's show was opened by the Mayor of Islington, Cllr Rakhia Ismail, who came down to a ceremony attended by family, friends and members of the public last Friday (December 6). This was a big moment in itself, as the featured artists "love having the regalia; that big gold necklace and the robes" according to Pearce.

"We're offering something that's outside of their everyday life and their school education," she adds. "[We give] access to the arts taught by professional practicing artists, giving those children space to explore their imagination and express themselves."

MakeArt tutors Eleanor Pearce, Tess Williams, Hayley Holderness and Jo Sweeney. Picture: Pablo Ruiz.MakeArt tutors Eleanor Pearce, Tess Williams, Hayley Holderness and Jo Sweeney. Picture: Pablo Ruiz.

The exhibition continues until December 20 and incorporates work created by MakeArt attendees at weekly classes and holiday camps across the year. Highlights include the 15ft-long Let's go to the Beach painting and The Big Top; a colourful collection of painted circus-based cut outs.

The programme's ArtStart members - aged four to six - have focused on environmental issues this year, creating collages of the ocean and a large sculpture of a whale made out of plastic bottles.

What does it mean for Islington Arts Factory's children to see their work on display like this?

"It's real validation for them," explains Pearce. "Children of all age groups are united under this one banner of creativity, we use every inch of the wallspace. We have brand new kids who might have come for a half-term, alongside children who have grown up at Islington Arts Factory."

Pearce would definitely fall in to the latter of those two categories. Having first walked through the door to join an art class at the age of 11, she says her goal is to "recreate that atmosphere" that first made her fall in love with the place 29 years ago.

Pearce mentions that seeing parents put their faith in Islington Arts Factory through the years "is so rewarding."

"I had one of the mum's whose child has been here since the age of four, and now they are 14, come in because she wanted to help hang the exhibition. It's wonderful that children have a place like this to go, because they are few and far between really. It's always a challenge to keep these resources."

MakeArt runs at Islington Arts Factory, 2 Parkhurst Road, N7 0SF, until December 20. Entry is free. More details here.


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